Live: NATO head Stoltenberg accuses Russia of using cold as ‘a weapon of war’
Issued on: 29/11/2022 – 11:09Modified: 30/11/2022 – 03:52
NATO allies gathering for a summit on Tuesday said they would help Ukraine fix its power grid damaged by Moscow’s shelling in what the alliance’s chief Jens Stoltenberg said was Russia using the cold weather as “a weapon of war”. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).
04:00am: Ukraine strikes digital trade agreement with Britain
Britain on Wednesday said it had agreed in principle a digital trade deal with Ukraine, the eastern European country’s first such agreement as it seeks support for its economy following Russia’s invasion.
Britain has sought to support Ukraine during the war, providing weapons but also taking economic steps, such as cutting tariffs on all Ukrainian goods to zero.
Talks on the digital deal began in the summer and were fast-tracked with a view to supporting Ukraine’s economy through the war and afterwards.
12:00am: Ukraine’s forces strike power plant in Russia’s Kursk region, says governor
Ukrainian forces struck a power plant in multiple attacks on Russia’s Kursk region on Tuesday, causing some electricity outages, a local governor said.
“In total, there were about 11 launches. A power plant was hit,” Roman Starovoyt, the governor of the Kursk region, said on the Telegram messaging app.
“Because of this, there are partial power outages in the Sudzha and Korenevo districts.” The districts are part of Russia’s Kursk region and sit over Ukraine’s northeast border.
There was no immediate information on possible injured or casualties, he added.
10:46pm: Ukraine’s Zelenskiy: Russian forces try to advance in Donbas, situation difficult
Ukraine President on Tuesday said that the situation at the frontline remains difficult, with Russian forces attempting to advance in the Donbas region and Kharkiv.
“The situation at the front is difficult,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. “Despite extremely large losses, the occupiers are still trying to advance on the Donetsk region, gain a foothold in Luhansk region, move into Kharkiv region, they are planning something in the south.”
Luhansk and Donetsk provinces comprise Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has been going on for months.
6:51pm: Medvedev warns NATO over supplying Ukraine with Patriot systems
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Tuesday against providing Ukraine with Patriot missile defence systems and called the alliance a “criminal entity”.
“If, as (NATO Secretary-General Jens) Stoltenberg hinted, NATO were to supply the Ukrainian fanatics with Patriot systems along with NATO personnel, they would immediately become a legitimate target of our armed forces,” Medvedev wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
It was not clear from his message whether he was referring to Patriot systems, Ukrainian forces or NATO personnel becoming a target.
6:44pm: Germany to send Ukraine more than 350 generators
will provide Ukraine with more than 350 generators, a government spokesman said Tuesday, after Russian missile strikes severely damaged Ukrainian energy infrastructure.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and said Germany would dispatch the generators, as well as provide financial assistance to repair energy infrastructure worth 56 million euros ($57 million), government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.
5:19pm: Concern from Ukraine that the West needs to ramp up arms production
Reporting from Brussels, FRANCE 24’s Dave Keating explains, “The big focus today [during a NATO foreign ministers’ gathering in Bucharest] was on this comprehensive military package — that’s direct from NATO. When it comes to actual lethal weapons involved in the conflict, that’s up to individual NATO countries.”
3:15pm: NATO commits to future Ukraine membership, drums up aid
allies have sent generators to ensure that Ukrainian citizens get help immediately but there is also talk of support in terms of winter clothing for soldiers on the front line. “NATO has been more united than ever and this ministerial meeting is important from a symbolic point of view because we know that in 2008 for example the happened in the capital of Romania where the NATO members decided not to provide the membership action plan to Georgia and Ukraine. Now we see a complete rethinking of the policy towards Russia and we see a consistent support to Ukraine,” says Natia Seskuria, Associate Fellow, Royal United Service Institute, London.
2:49pm: Russia’s Prigozhin says Zambian student who died in Ukraine was fighting with Wagner
Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of President , said on Tuesday that a Zambian student who died in Ukraine had been fighting for his .
Russia previously notified Zambia that Lemekhani Nyirenda had been killed on the battlefield in Ukraine in September, prompting Zambia to ask Moscow for more details and an explanation of how he had ended up fighting in the war.
Nyirenda’s father said he had been serving a nine-year jail sentence on the outskirts of Moscow for a drug offence when he was “conscripted” to fight. His family said it was unclear how he was recruited or by whom.
On Tuesday, Prigozhin’s Concord catering group said Nyirenda had been recruited by Wagner. Prigozhin and other Wagner representatives have toured Russian prisons offering amnesty in return for signing up to fight for Russia in Ukraine.
“Yes, I remember this guy well,” Prigozhin said in a written response to a question from a reporter as to whether the Zambian had been fighting for Wagner.
Prigozhin said Nyirenda had died a “hero” and that he was “one of the first to break into the enemy trenches on September 22”.
1:37pm: NATO chief reaffirms ‘open door’ position on membership for Ukraine
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the military alliance’s commitment to on Tuesday, saying that the war-torn nation will one day become a member of the world’s largest security organisation.
Stoltenberg’s remarks came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his NATO counterparts gathered in Romania to drum up urgently needed support for Ukraine aimed at ensuring that Moscow fails to defeat the country as it bombards energy infrastructure.
“NATO’s door is open,” Stoltenberg said. “Russia does not have a veto” on countries joining, he said in reference to the recent entry of North Macedonia and Montenegro into the security alliance.
“We stand by that, too, on membership for Ukraine,” the former Norwegian prime minister said.
1:11pm: NATO should help Ukraine ‘go through the process’ of membership bid, Slovak FM says
Ukraine’s bid for NATO membership will be discussed at a meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers, ‘s Foreign Minister Rastislav Kacer said on Tuesday, and help should be given to get the country as close as possible in the process.
“We will discuss the will of Ukraine to join NATO as it was expressed. That will be an issue,” Kacer said on arrival to the meeting.
“We need to take this seriously and help Ukraine going through the process of coming as close as possible to membership, and then when we are ready, so the transition to full membership will be very smooth.”
11:55am: Air raid warnings issued across whole Ukraine
Air raid alerts were issued across all on Tuesday but there were no immediate reports of any new Russian missile strikes.
The capital Kyiv sounded the all clear, but Ukrainian officials called for caution following a warning by President that Russia could be preparing new attacks almost a week after the last big wave of missile strikes.
“Last time, the Russians also disguised the strike as a training flight…Let’s see,” Vitaliy Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv region in southern Ukraine, said.
11:42am: Allies to ramp up Ukraine aid as Putin uses winter as weapon of war: NATO
allies will ramp up aid for Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin is using winter as a weapon of war because his forces are failing on the battlefield, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.
“We have delivered generators and spare parts, and the allies are helping to rebuild destroyed infrastructure,” he told reporters ahead of a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Bucharest, adding the gathering would serve as a platform to ramp up Western aid to rebuild Ukraine‘s energy infrastructure.
10:36am: Kyiv electricity system ‘under strain’ as authorities strive to manage outages
Kyiv authorities said Sunday that city residents would not experience outages for more than five consecutive hours, but as FRANCE 24 correspondent Gulliver Cragg reports from the Ukrainian capital, that is not yet in evidence, as some buildings only have power for a few hours a day.
“It seems to be a consensus opinion in Ukraine that it’s not a question of if, but of when the next wave of [Russian] attacks on electricity infrastructure will come,” Cragg said. “Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military in the south, was saying yesterday that they are observing ships being deployed in the Black Sea with cruise missiles on board.”
10:18am: Russian envoy protests pope’s ‘cruelty’ comments
Russia’s envoy has expressed Moscow’s strong dissatisfaction to the Vatican following ‘ latest condemnation of the “cruelty” of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Tuesday.
Francis had told the Jesuit magazine America in an interview: “When I speak about Ukraine, I speak about the cruelty because I have much information about the cruelty of the troops that come in. Generally, the cruellest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryati and so on. Certainly, the one who invades is the Russian state. This is very clear.”
10:02am: Qatar to send Germany 2 million tonnes of LNG per year for 15 years
has agreed to send Germany 2 million tonnes of liquefied natural a year for at least 15 years, officials said Tuesday, as Europe’s biggest economy scrambles for alternative supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With the long-awaited deal, Qatar aims to “contribute to efforts to support energy security in Germany and Europe”, said Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister and CEO of QatarEnergy.
8:05am: Ukrainians flee liberated Kherson amid Russian ‘revenge attacks’
Some Ukrainians are fleeing recently liberated Kherson amid Russian ‘revenge attacks’ that have killed several people and damaged infrastructure, including infrastructure. FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reports.
7:19am: NATO chief to call for more Ukraine winter aid at meeting of foreign ministers
chief Jens Stoltenberg will call on allies to pledge more winter aid for Kyiv at a meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, after Ukraine’s president told residents to brace for another week of cold and darkness due to Russian attacks on infrastructure.
NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest will focus on ramping up military assistance for such as air defence systems and ammunition, even as diplomats acknowledge supply and capacity issues, but also discuss non-lethal aid as well.
Part of this non-lethal aid – goods such as fuel, medical supplies, winter equipment and drone jammers – has been delivered through a NATO assistance package that allies can contribute to and which Stoltenberg aims to increase.
“It is going to be a terrible winter for Ukraine, so we are working to strengthen our support for it to be resilient,” a senior European diplomat said.
4:00am: Ukraine’s Naftogaz asks USAID for help with gas
Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz has asked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help with additional natural volumes for the heating season, Oleksiy Chernyshov, the company’s chief executive said on Monday.
Russia has been carrying out massive missile bombardments on Ukraine’s and power infrastructure roughly weekly since early October, with each barrage having greater impact than the last as damage accumulates and a frigid winter sets in.
12:00am: US Secretary of State Blinken to announce help for Ukraine’s power transmission
US Secretary of State on Tuesday will announce new assistance to help restore Ukraine’s power transmission ability in the face of Russian attacks targeting the country’s energy grid, a senior State Department official said.
Blinken arrived in on Monday evening ahead of a meetings with allies and foreign ministers from the Group of Seven advanced economies.
The US official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said Washington had been working with US utilities and hardware providers and with European nations to locate equipment that can help restore high-voltage transmission stations damaged by Russian missile strikes.
Blinken would use a Tuesday meeting of a new energy coordination group that includes the and other nations on to roll out some of what the United States has been able to mobilise and our plans to get that equipment into Ukraine as quickly as possible in the next few weeks,” the official said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning
Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 app